This article features an interview of Ladell Graham, one of ADG ‘s Managing Partners. Ladell & Gwen, his wife currently reside Texas.
TheAdvisor: ADG clearly comes from a place of large vision and large passion. Personally, what is your biggest passion in business as it relates to people.
Ladell: I am a maximizer! By that I mean that I am constantly drawn by something on the inside that wants to help reveal and maximize the potential in another, even and especially when they can’t see it. And I find myself drawn to people who have already discovered their vision and strengths which gives me the opportunity to walk alongside them, to coach them, to empower them. With each individual, whether they are a partner business owner or an employee in a recently acquired company, my passion is to help these individuals maximize the value of their life’s work…both monetarily and in such a way that their life has exponential impact on more individuals and on more lives.
TA: How do you implement Christ-like principles in a secular workplace without “crossing lines”?
Ladell: We speak the language of the culture into which we are entering. The Apostle Paul was effective because he knew how to speak the language of his culture. King David was said to have “served the purpose of his generation.” To a business owner looking to sell, we work to assess and find alignment with the culture that already exists within his or her company. We then create employee engagement. Engaged employees not only impact the bottom line, they simultaneously impact their own physical, financial and mental well-being. And for those who may not align spiritually with us from square one, our language to them is profit. The universally established principles that serve as the foundation of our culture have an indisputable track record of financial success.
TA: Let’s take this one step further. How do you sit across the table from a potential investor, someone who already aligns with your culture and vision, and help them to connect the dots when it comes to this philosophy translating into a profitable investment?
Ladell: Yes, a high percentage of the people we are already talking to believe in and align with our philosophy. But we can also demonstrate the soundness of this as a purely business decision by highlighting the following:
Returns: First, we don’t offer “unheard of” returns. Rather, we outline the attractive, quantifiable returns we anticipate from the due diligence we take each company through.
Purpose: Next, we look at those returns and money as a vehicle designed to take us to a destination for a purpose.
Due Diligence: Our due diligence process allows us to take intelligent risk. It includes evaluation of monthly financials, general ledgers, bank accounts, payroll journals and tax returns along WITH the status of the company’s current culture and values.
Experienced Team: This due diligence is done BY our accomplished management team, all of whom have senior-level management experience in worldwide companies as well as owning and operating their own businesses.
When it comes to “intelligent risk”, the ideal ADG investor will see that intelligence because they see value of integrating a “kingdom culture” with ethical standards, corporate governance, and excellence in operation. They see that same integration as a strength of their investment portfolio’s performance and NOT a potential sacrifice of profits because part of the investment decision is based on culture.
TA: What does ADG look like in 10 years?
Ladell: As I have already emphasized, ADG needs to be a company that maximizes both value of a company and the life of every person inside the company. To do that, these four areas need to be strategically impacted.
Investors – Our investors will be able to acknowledge that their investment through ADG has outperformed similar investment concepts offered elsewhere AND they will hear and celebrate the testimonials captured from impacted lives.
Company Owners – The original company owners who agree to acquisitions will recognize how ADG came alongside them and partnered with them to maximize the value of their life’s work. We want these owners to see this partnership as a foundation for generational security.
Employees – Statistically, Mondays are the #1 day for heart attacks on the job. Based on that alone, we have to stop putting people in places they weren’t designed to be in. To that end, employee engagement inside the ADG portfolio of companies will help each team member find enjoyment in doing the work they were providentially designed to do…because we will make sure that is the work they are doing. These employees will have had the opportunity to discover their passions, those innate, God-given abilities that draw each of us to a given problem so we can solve it. In a culture that encourages passion, where employees are engaged and buy in to the culture, we will see a workforce more focused on taking better care of each process of their work.
Families – When employees internalize the kingdom-focused culture, those values go home with them. They don’t just become a better team member, they become better human beings. That impacts families. Period.
TA: Gives us a final thought related to that team you mentioned.
Ladell: I believe that a strong team is essential to the success of any organization. Our team compliments each other. And yes, we have a vast amount of experience in a broad range of markets. We understand the perspective of both owners AND investors. But more importantly, we pray together. We are accountable to each other. Each individual has a heart to serve, and it is out of that heart that we have been assembled to have a radical impact on companies and in the lives of everyone in and around those companies.
Click here to read more about Ladell's background and experience.